Personal Stories

Missing the departed.

I miss my Grandparents.  Yes, my parents are still alive although I do not speak to my Father.  I’ve talked about him in prior posts.  Mom, well she is lovely, kind and I love her dearly but somehow  there is something about Grandparents advice that just makes more sense.  They’ve seen and done more.  They know the deal and they know their Grandchildren more than we know ourselves.  All of my Grandparents passed away at young ages.  This is by my own estimation and/or memory.  I wish they were still here.

Second Wife Millie, Grandpa Aaron, Nana Kay

Grandpa Aaron:  “You’re a Bad actor.”  I miss these words more than anything.  Who knew that 4 words would put such an impression on me for most of my life.  My Grandpa Aaron used to say this whenever I was pouting, wanting my own way or if I was on my way to getting into trouble.  I miss him a lot.  I miss his wisdom and his strength.  I wish he was still here, especially now.  I am almost positive that if he were still alive today, he would give me the advice that I need right now in my life.  I could just hear it now.  I often do.  He taught me street smarts.  He had to as I used to visit him in my teens when he was living in Las Vegas.  Young girls learn a lot there….and he wanted to make sure I learned the right things to do, not the bad things.  It was his death that I was mostly devastated by.   He passed away from Brain Cancer in 1986.  5 months shy of my high school graduation.  He was a World War II veteran in the Phillipines, a Casino executive and loved his German Shepherd Arlo.

Grandma Jean & Me

Grandma Jean:  She was the one who taught me business sense, not cooking.  She couldn’t cook anything that tasted incredibly decent. I laugh at that because she would always say “do you want some watermelon?”  That was easiest for her I guess.  She used to get so mad at me if I left dishes in the sink without rinsing them out first.  *It’s the little things I remember*  She co-owned a feed store – gas station after she retired from the State of California.  She knew how to balance a ledger and deal with suppliers like no ones business.  Although her love for her second husband Bill became her undoing (he was a raging alcoholic and she joined him – which ultimately killed her), she taught me skills that I do today.  I can balance a checkbook to the penny and I always rinse my dishes.

Papa & Nana Kay

Papa:  He was such a sweet, kind and thoughtful man.  He told me great jokes and was always jovial.  I really considered Papa my Santa Claus.  He had such a great smile and I LOVED his bear hugs.  He worked in construction most of his life after being a flight mechanic in World War II.   Many of the freeways people enjoy (or hate) in Sacramento was due to him and his crew.  He LOVED his backyard, and food.  He loved to smoke and toss a few back.  More than he should have I assume.  He loved his Grandchildren and make no bones about it, would discipline us if we got out of line or a little bit selfish.  I just wish he had removed that deer head in the den.  I hated that deer.  Always staring at me when I came into the den to watch TV.  I remember when he bought Pong (yes, Pong) for us.  He was a King of homemade ice-cream.  The best in North Highlands!  He passed away from multiple strokes when I was in my early 20’s.

Nana Kay – Cool Cat

Nana Kay:  She was the coolest, hippest cat ever.  She wore fashionable clothes, harlequin glasses and loved to play card games.  She tried to teach me Gin Rummy, but I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  I am more of a Blackjack maverick myself.  She would have plenty of Butterfingers around the house and to this day – I smile when I have a piece.   I remember camping in a trailer in the front yard with her.  She would sing to me “You are my sunshine” to me all the time.  This woman could COOK, and we would always have family gatherings and party down.  It was always fun to hang with Nana.  Hell, she taught me the birds and the bees and always told me that I was a princess.  What’s not to like about a Nana like that?  Unfortunately, she loved Blue Nun and in the end it was that stuff that took her away from us.  I really miss her.  A lot.

What saddens me the most about my Grandparents is that I never got the ability to say good-bye to the four people in my life that really mattered to me.  I couldn’t get on a plane to see my Grandpa Aaron because my Dad refused to go to the funeral.  I will never forgive my Father for that.  I had my phone unplugged on the day my Grandma Jean had passed away because my young son was napping.  My Papa was at Mercy Hospital and he was gone before I got there.  Finally, Nana was on a morphine drip and probably didn’t know that anyone was there….and I was heart broken.

Never take advantage of your Grandparents.  They could be gone in an instant.  If they are around, talk to them.  Spend time with them.  I miss mine now and I wish I had the opportunity to tell them that I loved them, loved their advice and appreciated all of their care in my upbringing.  I just wish I could hear that I am a “bad actor” one more time.  It would mean the world to me now.